Lionsgate UK are again releasing a batch of its Vestron Video Collector’s Series on Blu-ray. As like last time Infernal Cinema is reviewing these titles. First up is The Gate (1987)…
On sale 26th February from Vestron Video/Lionsgate, directed by Tibor Takacs.
When best friends Glen and Terry stumble across a mysterious crystalline rock in Glen’s backyard, they quickly dig up the newly sodden lawn searching for more precious stones. Instead, they unearth THE GATE – an underground chamber of terrifying demonic evil.
The Gate has grown in status over the years. It was apparent even back then it would be a cult movie mainly because it felt so much like a homage to cult movies. This review could start and end with the same sentiment of what The Gate offers the viewer: it’s a damn good time.
Of course going into more detail is required.
The initial story of opening up a deep hole in your back garden and therefore unleashing something evil is not original by any means. However director Tibor Takacs does it in such a colourful, over the top and exciting way his own take on this sort of plot device makes up for any predictability. At times the tale has a feel of Poltergeist (1982) and even the Well to Hell hoax but, again, Takacs offers enough of his own ideas to compensate this.
A time capsule of the eighties The Gate was Stranger Things before that show was even a, erm, thing. Pure eighties fun from start to finish, Takacs has the terrible fashions, dreadful hair heavy metal music littered throughout in a typical suburban environment. But of course, what was in back in the eighties quickly became unfashionable and is now in vogue again. That’s fads for you.
The practical and forced perspective effects still hope up well under today’s high definition standards. While it is obvious how some of these effects are achieved it doesn’t detract from them. This is in large part thanks to Randall William Cook. From the late seventies to mid nineties Cook worked on a number of well known horror and cult films in various roles. From The Thing (1982) to Doctor Morbid (1992) he then made the jump to Hollywood and Oscar glory when he did special effects on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Cook appears in several of the extras and gives a very enthusiastic look into his time on The Gate.
The cast of young, Canadian actors are a mixture of experienced teens and amateurs. It is also notable for the debuting Stephen Dorff. In the three decades since Dorff has been in various movies from straight-to-video fodder to Hollywood blockbusters. The gawky looking Louis Tripp is interesting as he displays talent and is entertaining although he would essentially retire from acting a few years later. After co-starring in sequel Gate II: Trespassers (1990) he was all but done with acting.
Speaking of the sequel, while not as well known as the original, or better received, Gate II is a fun little footnote to The Gate.
This release is loaded with special features. Many are new and are certainly value for money. Here’s a quick look at just a few of them…
The Workman Speaks – Carl Kraines, the actor that plays the corpse/zombie seen towards the end of The Gate speaks about his career, helping the young actors on set, the lengthy make up process and how he eventually became a drama teacher. A likeable guy, Kraines is a worthy interview.
Interview with Tibor Takacs and Randall William Cook – It is apparent from the start these two get along very well. For the most this is Cook revealing great story after great story about the movie while Takacs watches on in bemusement.
Made in Canada – Several of the minor cast as well as crew members talk about The Gate. They detail how they became involved with the feature, the making of the film and why Canada was such a film-maker friendly place at the time.